The big story before kick-off was the decision by Portugal manager Fernando Santos to leave Cristiano Ronaldo out of the starting lineup. However, it was Ronaldo's 21-year-old replacement, Gonçalo Ramos, who stole the headlines by scoring the first hat-trick of this World Cup with a clinical display in front of goal.
Ramos led a rampant Portugal side as they hammered Switzerland 6-1 and made a big statement to the other seven teams who had already booked their place in the quarter-finals.
In a game many thought would be close, Portugal was the much better team. They controlled the play and looked threatening whenever they went forward. Ramos opened the scoring inside the first 20 minutes with an accurate strike into the top corner that beat goalkeeper Yann Sommer at his near post before Pepe doubled the lead with a header before the break. Two quick-fire goals early in the second half ended any hopes of a Swiss revival.
Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji did pull one back with a tap-in at the back post to make it 4-1, but Portugal was not content to just see the game out. Ramos completed his hat-trick with a delicate dink over the on-rushing Sommer. Substitute Raphael Leao then rounded off the night with a curled effort into the bottom corner.
For Switzerland, it is the third straight Last 16 knockout at a World Cup. Portugal moves on to take on Morocco in the quarter-finals on Saturday, Dec. 10.
Expected goals (xG): Portugal 1.78, Switzerland 1.25
Portugal was on fire in front of goal on Tuesday, making the most of what were mostly half-chances. Switzerland managed 10 shots in total as opposed to Portugal’s 14. However, only two of those 10 shots were on target, as they never really looked likely to threaten a comeback.
Man of the Match: Gonçalo Ramos, Portugal
There is no real surprise with this one, as it was an excellent display in front of goal from the young Benfica striker as he picked up his first international hat-trick.
Ramos took five shots in total, all of which were on target. He completed two-thirds of his passes and was also proactive off the ball, with 52 pressures attempted.
In comparison, Ronaldo attempted 15, 18 and 34 pressures in the three group games he started.
Best Passer: Joao Felix, Portugal
This could have gone to any of the Portuguese midfielders.
Felix completed 82% of his passes, while Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes completed 87% and 89%, respectively. However, Felix ended the day with two assists, was the most aggressive in terms of line-breaking pass attempts (4) and played more through-balls than Bruno and Bernardo combined.
All three midfield maestros had an excellent game and will likely cause Morocco a number of problems in the quarter-finals.
Best Challenger: Granit Xhaka, Switzerland
Xhaka didn’t have his best game in terms of passing, but he was the best out of both sides as a challenger. Winning all four of the aerial duels and tackles he was involved in, he was his usual strong self in that regard.
It was a quiet night for Diogo Costa in the Portugal goal, as he faced just two shots on target. One of those was the open goal tap-in for Manuel Akanji, which he had no chance of stopping.
On the other hand, Yann Sommer had a much busier time of it, having to pick the ball out of his net six times. He will certainly feel like he could have done better with a few of the Portugal goals after being beaten at his near post for the first Ramos goal — albeit from an extremely accurate strike — and getting a hand to the Pepe header. Sommer faced nine shots in total and kept just three out.